The final Sunday of the NFL regular season will be wild. Eighteen of the league’s 32 teams remain in playoff contention. Thirteen of the 16 games Sunday have playoff implications.
The playoff scenarios are so complicated in the AFC, that no team controls its own destiny for the second wild-card spot. Baltimore, Miami, San Diego and Pittsburgh remain alive. It’s so complicated, none of the primary news sources bothered to answer the ultimate question.
What if all four win Sunday? If that’s the case, the Ravens advance. Here’s a shortened version of what to look for.
Miami hosts the Jets. Baltimore plays at Cincinnati. San Diego hosts Kansas City. And Pittsburgh hosts Cleveland.
The Dolphins are in if they win and the Chargers win or the Ravens lose.
The Ravens are in if they win and the Dolphins or Chargers lose or tie.
The Chargers are in if they win and the Ravens and Dolphins lose.
The Steelers are in if they win and everybody loses.
If everybody wins, the Ravens are in. If everybody loses, the Ravens are in.
It will be a lot clearer by 3 p.m. Only San Diego plays late afternoon.
Panthers at Falcons: Atlanta 23-20. Upset special. The Falcons are better than they’ve showed and almost upset the 49ers.
Ravens at Bengals: Cincinnati 19-17. Baltimore’s playing for a playoff berth, but Cincy’s still got a shot at homefield advantage.
Jaguars at Colts: Indianapolis 31-21. Indy is a strange team. Jacksonville is not. The Jags aren’t very good, but they play hard.
Jetropolitans at Dolphins: Miami 27-10. New York is considered a total disaster. Miami is considered an up-and-comer. The Jets were predicted for disaster. The Dolphins were predicted for mediocrity. The Dolphins are 8-7. The Jets are 7-8. Makes no sense.
Lions at Vikings: Minnesota 31-27. Jim Schwartz gets the reward for the worst coaching job in the NFL. Much worse than the fired Gary Kubiak.
Redskins at Giants: Washington 26-24. Another Kirk Cousins audition. I sense a little too much hype.
Browns at Steelers: Pittsburgh 36-24. Amazing rally by the Steelers to make a playoff bid.
Texans at Titans: Houston 33-24. Whenever I list all 32 NFL teams, the one that comes slowest to my mind is Tennessee.
49ers at Cardinals: Arizona 19-16. If Carson Palmer can keep from throwing interceptions, the Cards will win this game.
Packers at Bears: Green Bay 34-27. I believe in Aaron Rodgers. I think most of Cheese Nation does, too.
Bills at Patriots: New England 41-10. Patriots have won 10 of the last 11 AFC East titles.
Buccaneers at Saints: New Orleans 42-20. Saints are tough at home. And if Atlanta can upset Carolina, New Orleans can be at home for a first-round playoff game.
Broncos at Raiders: Denver 38-10. Terrelle Pryor starting for Oakland, which will not hurt Denver’s feelings one bit.
Chiefs at Chargers: San Diego 29-27. Kansas City is sliding. Chargers are soaring.
Rams at Seahawks: Seattle 24-20. St. Louis makes it interesting, but Seahawks win the NFC West.
Eagles at Cowboys: Philadelphia 41-17. Put Tony Romo in this game, and we’d have had great theater. But now? Not so much.
Last week: 8-8. Season: 141-84-1.